A Winter's Secret Tale Edit
Sir Cernwin is the master-at-arms of Duke Amberon in some Duchy of the Kingdom of Willows. As part of a debt his liege owed to Duke Scalock of House Leanhaun, Cernwin traded places with the Unseelie Duke who needed a master combatant to deal with a challenge he was not capable of winning... an ogre named Balrad, who was the nephew of another, more powerful Leanhaun lord seeking to expand their borders into Scalock's own, who showed up every year to challenge him. While Cernwin was to take on Scalock's face, Scalock was to take on his.
And so, Cernwin, as Scalock, moved into Caer Wanwither as lord of the freehold. He was shocked by what he found. Scalock's two consorts, Tallow and Meriedra were constant presences but gave off an odd feeling to Cernwin. Scalock's Boggan seneschal, Hammond, seemed to have lost his spirit in the process of being broken to Scalock's crop. The other Seelie fae of the court, almost a quarter of the household, bore haunted looks on their faces, particularly a one-eyed sluagh with bruises on her shoulders. All seemed to have felt the brunt of Scalock's "attentions."
Throughout the winter, Cernwin put off Tallow and Meriedra by claiming he needed to focus his energies on the coming battle. To protect their self-esteem, though, he allowed them to sleep on the divan in his room so none would know "Scalock" was't making use of them.
Over the winter, he ran Scalock's court: taking care of court matters, hunting, judging criminals, and presiding over feasts. If anyone noticed a difference in their liege's manner, they kept it to themselves, just glad he was there and strong... that was enough.
The Challenge Edit
When Balrad finally came to offer his challenge, along with a contingent of redcaps, He and "Scalock" fought, with Cernwin easily defeating the ogre, leaving only a stubble-chinned human in battered denim and leather. With a brusque command to clean the hall and get rid of the smell while he went riding, he left the court to meet with Scalock and return to his old life.
That was until Scalock called him that same night. The two met in the Appalachian countryside again. Scalock spoke to him, thanking him for treating his domain with more honor than he had expected form an enemy, and offered Cernwin friendship and hospitality in his lands if ever he needed it.
Cernwin, of course, reproached the Unseelie lord. He called out the sidhe for his possessiveness of his people... treating them like property. He reminded Scalock that he knew the man's freehold as well as he did and probably better... every in and out. He promised never to let the secret be known, provided Scalock did the same, and he informed the Leanhaun lord that if he ever saw him again in his own lands, he would come for him and nothing would keep him from finishing the job short of High King David. He then went back to his position, leaving Scalock a much more frightened man.
Cernwin is dark-haired, well muscled, and with strong features a far cry from the delicacy of many sidhe. He prefers to wear the green and gold livery of his House.
The two Dukes mentioned in the tale of Cernwin, Amberon and Scalock, appear to be fae in and around the Duchy of Appalachia. However, the sourcebook Kingdom of Willows makes no mention of either of them and names the Dukes of all relevant Duchies. It is possible that they are previous dukes but more likely that they are in fact lesser lords, which would make sense as Scalock claims there is a more powerful lord than he in the area and a Duke is is only superseded by a King.